UHD 8k TV sales healthy but no chance of 8k Blu-ray format

posted on Monday, 28th October 2019 by Steve May

8K  UHD  Trade  home cinema 

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UHD 8k TV sales are outperforming industry predictions, but don’t expect physical media to jump on the bandwagon. That was the message at a joint briefing between Samsung and the 8k Association in London.

Samsung Senior European Strategy Manager Craig Cunningham reported that the premium end of the consumer display market, where products are priced above 2000 euros, remains “very, very stable”, and that the state of the 8k market “is healthier than expected. But then initial expectations for a market are always cautious in the early stages,” he noted.

Samsung released a variety of data about 8k buyers at the event. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number one reason from all criteria why consumers opted for an 8k display was deemed to be ‘8k picture quality,’ at 77 per cent. Following with 55 per cent was ‘One Connect and Invisible connection cable’, then ‘Upscaling thanks to AI’ (44 per cent), ‘QLED screen technology’ (35 per cent), and ‘Available screen sizes’ (23 per cent).

56 per cent of buyers agreed that AI and 8k picture quality was ‘very important’ and 36 per cent deemed it ‘important’.

“When incumbent technologies come down in prices, and they ultimately always do, it's really important that they are replaced with new innovation,” says Cunnigham. “If there wasn't new innovation, value would simply leave the market.”

Demand of super large screens (80-inches plus) has been outperforming forecasts for the past two years. Up 55 per cent in 2018 and 60 per cent in 2019.

Large screen sizes will definitely be one of the driving factors for 8k, adds Cunningham. “Our growth, the cornerstone of our business is really built on large screen supremacy. In the last two years, we've been able to double this market segment.”

Samsung also declared that QLED sell-in sales were now outstripping rival OLED at the premium end of the global market during the first two quarters of 2019, up 101 per cent and 77 per cent respectively, based on data from IHS.

8k Briefing

Currently 55 inch and above are now the only market segments that are growing, Samsung reports. “Sales of even 50- and 49-inch screens are declining in almost every market.”

While there are indications that 8k content will eventually come to streaming services, Chris Chinnock, executive director of the 8K Association, ruled out 8k content on physical media. “The Blu-ray Disc Association is not looking at 8k,” he told Inside CI. “Discussions could start again, but I see this as a low probability.”

Chinnock confirmed that outside of IMAX, there’s no studio representation in the 8k Association. “That's not surprising. In many ways, studios are almost the last ones to get on board,” he says. “They will want to see everything else in the ecosystem ready, with a certain level of installed base. They're very bottom line oriented.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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